Since Christmas is just four days away, many of us are currently celebrating the season as we look forward to the big day and all the joy that comes with it. At least, some of us are.
Unfortunately, not everyone is feeling the holiday cheer; in fact, some people are still using the internet to publicly embarrass and disparage others.
After publishing a picture of herself at singer Tori Kelly’s 2000s-themed 30th birthday party, model Ashley Graham recently encountered this.
“When it’s @torikelly’s 30th and she says 2000s, I show up in my bday freakum outfit, ikyk,” the model and body positivity advocate captioned photographs of herself wearing a small gold slip dress.
While images of Graham wearing the “freakum dress” received a lot of positive feedback, journalist Sameera Khan criticised the model, saying that the “fat positivity movement is getting out of hand” and later drawing comparisons between Graham and fellow model Irina Shayk, saying that “studies show that poor, stressed-out men prefer fat women like Ashley Graham” while “wealthier men prefer slender women like Irina Shayk.”
Following Khan’s comments, which have now been deleted, many people rallied to Graham’s defence.
It is inappropriate and alarming for anyone who might perceive and internalise that message to engage in damaging discourse that is centred on what males “supposedly” desire.
Similar sentiments were expressed by many. One person wrote on Twitter: “Happy to see people calling out that journalist’s tweets. Shaming Ashley for being alive and content with her body is incredibly sad.
Another person said: “Body shaming before Christmas? Some individuals need to get a grip and stop criticising others for living their lives, especially when your reasoning is so male-centric.
Graham uploaded a Twitter thread encouraging people to share a photo of themselves enjoying their bodies rather than explicitly replying to Khan’s statements, and the reactions were incredibly inspiring.
Many others shared self-portrait images along with an inspiring message in response to the tweet, which received over 83,000 likes and 4,000 retweets.
“Everyone is lovely. Even though we don’t always feel like it, I did here,” one user wrote after uploading three images.
Presenting some outfits from my “glorifying fat” collection from the days when I cosplayed more and had the audacity to pose as a fictional character,” a caustic commenter added. “I still cosplay now, and my wife still makes my looks; I just did it a LOT more years ago,” the cosplayer said.
Graham’s Twitter thread demonstrates that it can be better to focus on the happiness and beauty around us rather than react to negativity.
I believe it’s safe to say she made the right decision given the number of people who have since shared images and messages on accepting one’s body.